At the center of a crowd of colorfully clothed My Little Pony fans sit two teenage boys, eyes locked on the television screen in front of them, thumbs moving rapidly. They're guiding the Nintendo iconic green dinosaur Yoshi, Mario's friend/mode of transportation through Pickachu's lightening bolt. This is happening because the five dudes behind Critical Hit Gaming traveled more than 500 miles from McAllen to the Lewisville Hilton Garden Inn this weekend to participate in Animation Celebration's Brony Fest.
This second annual gathering of male My Little Pony fans and their female counterparts kicked into gear Friday afternoon with a Disney Princess Karaoke session, where several versions of Elsa from Frozen were caught singing "Let it Go." In the main hall the long-time voice of Batman, Kevin Conroy, held court over a legion of fans. What was meant to be a discussion of his process quickly derailed into endless trivia questions he couldn't answer.
See also: Our Slideshow from Brony Fest
Saturday saw the convention hit its stride as parents and younger children mixed in with the Bronies. A pair of young women dressed as The Little Mermaid's Ariel lounged next to the pool, while a young man dressed as Olaf the Snowman delighted passing children. A prop car gussied up to look like the Ghostbusters' Ecto-1 saw heavy traffic from convention-goers.
At a late night after party, hundreds of Bronies, drunk on beer and life, took comfort in the numbers the convention provided and let loose. More often then not an uncoordinated T-shirt clad dancer would turn his time in the dance circle into some type of bizarre tumbling act, unaware of the ridiculousness of it all. The drink of the night? Squirt, vodka and Lucas powder.
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As with any gathering, the third day is the low point, as many of the convention-goers and merchants have already returned to their lives in a world not dominated by pink and rainbows. What remained were the die-hards trying to squeeze every bit of the camaraderie out of they day. They walked together, danced together, and with the help of one girl's violin skills, sang together. A sideshow troupe roamed the aisles, performing feats of juggling and tests of pain limits. One performer rammed a 4-inch nail into his nostril and had a Brony remove it using only his teeth. I saw this performer later walking around with a condom over his head, furiously breathing into it to expand it till it loudly popped. In the once busy gaming room, Fishouse and the Critical Hit crew packed up their gaming consoles and televisions, prepping for the eight-hour journey ahead of them.
As the day wound down, and even the most dedicated Bronies made their exit, the Hilton returned to normalcy. Out walked the Bronies, in walked a cheerleading squad. Who knows if the convention was successful enough to see a return engagement next year, but one thing's for sure, for three days children and children at heart came together to turn Lewisville into the weirdest, most colorful place in DFW.